"cut off my tail with a carving knife"

The traditional English nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice:


Three blind mice, three blind mice,  

See how they run, see how they run,

They all ran after the farmer's wife,

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,

Did you ever see such a thing in your life,

As three blind mice?


Portrait of Mary I of England
Public DomainMary I - Credit: Hans Eworth

The rhyme was inspired by English history.  The ‘farmer’s wife’ refers to Queen Mary, the eldest child of King Henry VIII. Her violent persecution of Protestants earned her the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’. ‘Farmer’s wife’ refers to the estates she possessed as Queen, while the 'mice' are the Protestant noblemen burnt at the stake for allegedly plotting against the Queen.